The Red Carpet Manicure System is an at-home gel manicure system. It consists of Structure Base Coat, the gel polish (they offer many colors; I only own two so far), and Brilliance Top Coat. Those three pieces are mandatory, as is a light to cure the polish. I own the $20 Portable LED Light; I sort-of wish I had bought the $50 Professional LED Light which cures the polish much faster.
Red Carpet Manicure also offers a prep to clean your nails before painting them and a cuticle oil for afterwards; those are optional, and I don’t own either. They also have a Purify Cleanser to clean your nails after using the gel system. You do need something to clean your nails after application, so I bought the Purify. They have a remover, which I didn’t buy, since 100% acetone removes gel nails.
|dripping in luxury|
This at home nail polish system is advertised as lasting for “weeks of wear.” Because I get bored after several days, I haven’t tried to wear the polish for weeks. However, after approximately a week, my nails look completely perfect; no tipwear, no chips. I am guessing that the Red Carpet Manicure system would last approximately as long as a professional gel manicure lasts, however long that is for you.
The trick is to get really thin layers of everything – thin layers of Structure, polish, and brilliance. I have two colors of polish, Dripping in Luxury and Black Stretch Limo. I’ve found that “Dripping in Luxury” is thin and easy to work with, while “Black Stretch Limo” is much thicker, but uneven enough that it definitely needs two coats. It ends up much thicker, no matter how carefully I try to make thin, even coats – and I can feel that it’s thicker on my nails. The nails where I have both layered – one coat of each – feel fine though. It’s the two coats of Black Stretch Limo that feel too thick.
|black stretch limo|
The base coat, Structure is also difficult to work with – it’s very thick and goopy, and difficult to get a thin layer. Keep in mind that you have as much time as you want to get a thin layer – it won’t dry at all until you put it under the light.
One great thing about gel nail polish is that it’s an amazing base for nail stamping or other nail art, because it doesn’t come off with non-acetone remover. So, you can use regular nail polish do draw or stamp designs on it, then if you make a mistake, just use non-acetone remover to remove the design and start over. This will leave the gel manicure intact; no need to redo the base layer. I find that this makes doing nail art much less frustrating!
|both polishes layered|
You can use different brands of gel nail polish, such as Gelish nail polish (which is sold at Sally’s), with the Red Carpet Manicure system. Gelish nail polish is more expensive than the Red Carpet Manicure polish, but if there’s a color you want, it will work just fine. You technically are not supposed to use regular nail polish with a gel nail polish system, but nothing bad will happen if you do. Make sure to let it dry COMPLETELY if you do, and don’t expect it to last as long as a gel manicure.
Removal is typical for a gel polish – it’s a pain. First, buff the surface of the nail to break the seal, then soak the nail in acetone for several minutes. They remove just like any other gel nail. Removal did not damage my nails at all.
Have you tried an at-home gel nails system? Would you?
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